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HITCH (PG-13) (2005)

Columbia Pictures

Official Site

Director: Andy Tennant

Producers: James Lassiter, Will Smith, Teddy Zee

Written by: Kevin Bisch

Cast: Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kevin James, Amber Valletta, Adam Arkin, Michael Rapaport


Believe it or not, Will Smith has never been in a rom-com throughout a decade-plus career as an actor. Therefore, if nothing else, Hitch marks the first Will Smith appearance in chick flick territory.

Smith, still playing to type, portrays Alex “Hitch” Hitchens, a professional “date doctor.” To clarify (in case anyone found the trailer misleading), Hitch doesn’t hook people up for a quick fix. He’s more like a long-term dating service for geeky, bumbling guys with whom he empathizes: Hitch used to be just as pathetic as they are. While we never really see the transition in his character, we do know that Hitch is good with the ladies and brilliant at fixing up hopeless and desperate bachelors with long-term relationships. The latest case concerns Albert Brennaman (stand-up comedian and “The King Of Queens” sitcom star, James), a junior accounting consultant who is smitten with an heiress he works for, Allegra Cole (Valetta). Allegra and her relationships provide frequent subject matter for gossip columnist, Sara Melas (the future Mrs. Vile One, Mendes). Coincidentally, Hitch has fallen for Sara and tries to woo her, even though her charms make him as big of a spaz as the clients he helps.

Don’t be fooled. This is your typical romantic comedy, but surprisingly, the film works despite its cheesy parts. James is a great comic and physical performer and more than holds his own against a superstar like Smith. Smith, despite playing the same character he always portrays, fits well in the setting which plays off his own personal brand of charisma. For a change, I was happy to see a romantic comedy which is turned around. Instead of the guy screwing up, doing the ridiculous thing, and having to repair the broken relationship, in Hitch, Sara enacts such when she tries to figure out who hooked up Allegra and Albert and falsely expose Hitch’s profession. Y’see ladies, even you make mistakes… sometimes… C’mon not all guys suck.

The strongest parts of the movie feature Smith and James, and James’s “wooing” of Allegra. The not-so-strong parts feature the relationship between Hitch and Sara. Those moments really are the most derivative, kind of cheesy and unsubtle, yet Mendes and Smith deserve credit for good performances and great range.

The supporting cast is strong and tolerable, especially in the form of the adorable Valleta as Allegra and Adam Arkin in a small role as Sara’s boss. There is a near-pornographic (not XXX porn, guys) cameo of Michael Rapaport fairly early—his only scene in the movie, where he does disappointingly little.

The story doesn’t take any chances, but the comic material presented by writer, Kevin Bisch and director Andy Tennant is fairly middle- to highbrow. Thankfully, there are few, if any, references to bodily functions, fluids, and/or parts—a refreshing change for entertainment. In the end, you can do a lot worse than Hitch, especially for a date.

—Jeffrey “The Vile One” Harris

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

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